Beekeeping: Logging Progress and Cleaning

Well, I’ve been challenged and I love a challenge.  I started with 2 hives this spring and I’m now up to 10 hives.  A lot has happened with them this spring…too much for me to remember.

Bill has mentioned the need to keep track by logging each hive’s activities – how old is the queen, how much honey did they produce, when did they swarm, etc.  I’ve heard him say this, but never really did anything about it.

Until now.

I took 3 of my hives to another friend’s farm because they needed to be at least 3 miles away when I split them.  We were talking the other day and I referred to the hive closest to the house.  She said, “Oh, you mean #3?”

“#3?”

“Yes, the one furthest from the house is #1 and then #2 and the one closest to the house is #3.”

“Okay.”

“Well, the one closest to the house…”

“#3.  It would make it easier if you would refer to them by their number.”

“Okay, well, I need to check to see if #3 needs another super.”

You see, she works in the veterinary world, in research, and documenting and logging are a HUGE part of her work.  She thinks in “numbers and systems” and so it automatically transferred to the beehives I put on her farm.

As she watched me struggling trying to keep all the information straight – which hives needed more supers and were they mediums or shallows?  Which hives had new queens and which had old queens and how old were they?  She asked me if I’d thought of putting all the hives on a number system and keeping track of them that way.

Honestly, with only 2 or 3 hives, it hadn’t really been necessary but now, with 10, it was apparent my current “system” wasn’t working!

So I took the challenge and gave each of the hives a number.  That number will go into a notebook and I’ll write the history of that hive and then chart its progress.

To give myself a good start – I cleaned up the bee yard too.

I mowed and hand weeded under the stands.  I love having carpet in front of the hives – it cuts down on the weeds at the front door and keeps me from having to get really close to the hives with the mower.

Before…

After…

I try not to run the weed whacker near the bees and I mowed in the early morning around 8:30 or so before they started flying.  No one was agitated with the sound of the mower and I was really close to some of the hives.

I put down new carpet by this set and will finish when I find more carpet!

My friend put out a tarp for the new hives I brought over and staked the tarp into the ground.  It’s very neat and tidy – I like that look!

Now with clean yards and a new numbering system to keep track of my hives, I’m feeling a little more competent as a beekeeper 🙂

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